Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jeremy Bangs in Plymouth

We were lucky enough to get a last minute reserved seat at the special evening with Dr. Jeremy Bangs at the Pilgrim Hall Museum on Monday night, April 22nd.  But we were also unlucky to hit torrential rains and horrific Boston traffic on the way to the event.  We rolled into Pilgrim Hall just a few minutes before the presentation "Intellectual Baggage - Pilgrim Ideas - Ours and Theirs" began.  It was a very full hall, and there was a long line of people waiting in the "stand-by" queue for seats. We were told that fortunately the museum was able to accommodate everyone who was waiting.

I have heard Dr. Bangs speak twice before.  Once I had heard him lecture many years ago at NEHGS, and I attended the banquet at the Mayflower Congress in 2011 where Dr. Bangs gave the keynote presentation titled "Always More Pilgrim Books".  He has written over ten books about the Pilgrims, including Strangers and Pilgrims, Travelers and Sojourners: Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation and also Indian Deeds: Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony 1620 - 1692.  He is on the editorial board for the GSMD Mayflower Journal and he is also an honorary life member.  We missed seeing Bangs at his American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden in 2017 on our GSMD tour due to his recent illness, and I was so happy to have this opportunity to hear him speak and to see that he had recovered well.

Tonight's talk was more than just a presentation on the books the Pilgrims brought with them, books they owned, and the books they left in their wills and estate inventories.  Bangs also described some myths that developed over the years, and the history behind why these myths developed and persisted. He also presented primary source material disputing some of these myths usually in a humorous context. The audience appreciated his sense of humor, and his deep understanding of more than just Pilgrim history - Bangs is expert in geography, law, religion, literature, 17th century politics, sociology, and other subjects that give him an ability to tie everything together.

This talk was sponsored by David A. Furlow, historian, and his wife, GSMD Member-at-Large Lisa Pennington.  It was a fundraiser for the restoration of the Edward P. Moran painting Signing of the Mayflower Compact. The painting was not on display, since it had been removed last year when the ceiling was repainted, and damage was found in the old frame.  David Furlow stated "No one has written more about the Pilgrims than Jeremy Bangs".

At the conclusion of Dr. Bang's presentation, The Cothutikut Mattakeeset Massachuset Tribe awarded Dr. Bangs a wampum necklace and blanket for his work on the book Indian Deeds.  It was followed by a short question and answer session.

This event was well worth the long drive in bad weather all the way from Manchester, New Hampshire.  It was wonderful to see Dr. Jeremy Bangs again, and also to see the large crowd that came out to welcome him.  Of course I ran into many of my Mayflower cousins, and some surprise cousins, and many of my friends and colleagues from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

For the truly curious:

The American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden, The Netherlands:

The Pilgrim Hall Museum:

More news about this event online:

Plymouth Wicked Local

Mayflower Society Blog 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Jeremy Bangs in Plymouth", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 24, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. Sounds like it was really good... so glad that you were able to go. :)

  2. Sounds like it was SO GOOD!! So glad that you were able to go...